Theory: Following Up on Polishing

It struck me that the discussion on polishing the experience probably seemed to amount to “avoid downtime.” That’s a part of what I was talking about, but there’s a little more to it.

Games can slow down or stop for many reasons. Sometimes it’s because the mechanics require players to pause and wait for something to happen. It could also be because there’s a table that has to be consulted again and again, or a complex rule that needs to be looked up repeatedly. The physical processes of of the game might be the issue: fiddliness in the components can make the game drag, especially if it’s unproductive fiddliness–things getting knocked out of alignment or off the table that then need to be dealt with.

Take a broad view as you look for slowdowns. Anything that interrupts the game, or even brings down the tempo unintentionally, deserves your attention.

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